Thursday, May 26, 2005

Oh Cap'n, My Cap'n!

This is a post addressed to this blog's only faithful reader, Cap'n Redneck, whose nom de net honors the working class radicals that must be reunited with the Democratic party as well as the halcyon days of Memphis WMC-5 Wrestling.


I'm okay with the recent deal and here's why. If we'd lost, I have no doubt O'Connor and Rehnquist would have immediately retired and Robert Bork clones would have been immediately rammed through the Senate. Also, with Rehnquist out, some fascist like Gonzales or Scalia would have been made Chief Justice. Now, we at least have a chance at stopping such scenarios. See Kos. As a bonus, the deal is pissing off the right people.


The King's website has changed since I'd last visited, but he's still got a few old vid files up. It's mostly McMahon-era crap now, though. But, man, a couple of years ago I downloaded clips from the best fight in Memphis history, the infamous Tupelo concession stand slugfest-foodfight with Lawler, Dundee, Ferris, and (best of all) Larry Latham. Email me some time and I'll send you the clip.

A friend of mine saw Jimmy Valiant in a gun shop not too long ago. He said Handsome Jimmy still looked fairly spry, though pickled, of course. It came up in conversation about a local character, a man older than even Valiant, back home who got tattoos on his earlobes "because getting them pierced seemed like it'd hurt too much". Hah. Of course this reminded me of Mr Barbedwire-Across-The-Forehead, not to mention Handsome Jimmy's spiderweb tatts in his ears.

I was a kid but lived in Memphis for the most part during the glory era. I remember Andy Kauffman explaining, hilariously, what soap and toilet paper were for (who says poor Southerners can't laugh at themselves?). Never saw him in person, though, but I did see the next best thing: The Universal Hearthrob, Austin Idol. Saw him and Jimmy Valiant and Lawler beat down Jimmy Hart's Interns and some other dipshit (Ken Patera? Kevin Sullivan?). I saw the original Fabulous Ones. I saw those two dumbasses Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson. I saw Exotic Adrian Street, with his feather boas and Adam Ant music.

You can find tapes from this era on ebay, but I've never given them a shot. I imagine McMahan would be unhappy if everything were to come out of Channel-5's vault and get remastered: the scripting was so much better then, it'd show how derivative and tired the new stuff is.

There used to be a great site called "kayfabememories" that you might still be able to see through google's cache. It's been a few years since I read it but it had a month by month history of Memphis Wrestling that was very detailed.


You mentioned before A Face In The Crowd. Haven't seen it since I was a kid but it was a cousin's favorite movie, and I remember being amazed at him telling me that Kazan had to get Andy Griffith drunk off his ass to do that "I have these people in the palm of my hand" (or whatever the direct quote is) scene. Andy Griffith! Drunk. Didn't seem possible. Still doesn't.


I'm still suspicious but I think posts like this, which I've noticed are more frequent from that corner, might mean that he's the only economist from the DeLong wing of the party who might, finally, get it.


I don't know what your religious allegiances are, but as for me, I'm an agnostic who's pretty hostile to Belief. But I hope to be pragmatic, too, and so think there's a lot of merit in the points raised in this entry.

In the Scopes dialectic I'm on Darrow's side, against Bryan. In the silly parlance of the times that makes me blue against red. But I also know that just because Bryan made a fool of himself in Tennessee doesn't mean everything he believed in and fought for was silly or wrong. The "Bryan Problem" in history neatly explains a lot of the difficulty we have now on the left. We're throwing the baby (conscientious populism that is a check against the social darwinist machine of the neoliberals) out with the bathwater (a streak of fundamentalist Christianity).


Baseball. You've probably learned of the site through Answer Guy, but we argue about all kinds of shit, often politics and culture too, at BTF's Baseball Primer. When I'm burned out on blogging or otherwise not up to it, I'm still likely found there.

With regard to baseball philosophy, growing up with Whiteyball Cardinals, I'm a traditionalist. I also hate the steroids-cheaters and so I, along with a bloc of a few other posters, am often reduced to arguing against the whole rest of the site.

The site has a lot of smart members.

As for this season, I hope my (our?) Cardinals win, rejoice when the Mutts, Yankees and sCrUBS lose, and sometimes catch myself hoping that the Brew Crew does well. And as for TLR, he's all right, though I don't buy the "genius" tag that insufferable nerd George Will applied to him, and he can't hold a candle in the creativity department to Whitey. By the way, the genius thing is ironic. If I remember correctly, it is Herzog who's actually near genius level in the literal IQ-sense, according to the Army tests he was given. But TLR's a lawyer and you know how that suckers writers.


You paid me the supreme compliment by saying Duane (not Gregg) Allman the other day. I do have a flat top nearby but I can't play it for shit, it's not tuned to an open chord, and I have no Coricidin bottle, but I do own the Allman Brothers box set (it's the only boxed set cd collection I ever bought). As for transportation, I drive something only barely cooler than Clark Griswold's Family Truckster, but that's because I'm sensible now. Back in the day, though, it was a 66 Fastback I worked a whole summer in high school to have painted, then a 70 AMX in my early 20s. The Fastback was pretty but not so fast except for top end, but dear god that AMX (4 speed, 360 4bbl) would tear your head off. I fucked around on some dirt bikes as a kid, and several friends are bikers (and not, thank God, completely in the yuppie sense), but I never owned one. Peach-pickin: Heheh. That's more of a Crowley's Ridge thing, but I'm a flatlander. Most of the kids in my area pitched melons for summer money, which is a damned hard job; my scrawny ass was usually stuck on a plowing tractor at that time or, soon after, in hip-waders cutting levees and pulling spills (and avoiding water moccasins). Still drive a tractor every once in a while when someone from home needs help.

I'm so glad no one called me Kid Rock in that post. I'm really sick of that shit.


Farm Stuff. You read things like this and see how it worked for small farmers who didnt have much switchover costs, and think of how such scenarios are plausible, but how they couldn't apply here.

Then you read shit like this. Neoliberal nutjob.

They ought to make it based on acreage: it'd encourage smaller and organic farmers as well as cut out the 10,000 acre operations that don't need government help and whose owners drive tax-deductable humvees to high-priced duck clubs. Also, someone needs to write on these matters who knows that farming is unlike other businesses in that it cannot pass on higher operational expenses to the consumer. The problem with farming is simple: it grows incredibly more expensive to farm year by year, a usual thing with equipment costs but with the oil surge, it's really crazy the last two years, yet the prices recieved for commodities, except for a brief spike two years ago, have been stagnant since, shit, since Gerald Ford's regime. You can make that up by raising more grain per acre, and we still havent hit the ceiling on that, but we're getting close, I think -- and in pushing that front, we're encountering new dangers.

One thing's for sure, intensification sucks. I always hear elderly people complain that meat has lost its flavor and I believe them. I pity those poor people who live near the huge pig operations. I'm with Kunstler and Berry on this: we're going to have to go to an Amish -- or, at least, Mennonite -- model for the sake of the environment and food quality. But the government will have to help with the crossover.

The drought of 1980 turned my area into a mosquito factory. After 1980, everyone started levelling their land so that they could irrigate. But it also had the effect of introducing so many thousands of new acres into rice rotation, which replaced cotton and, in many places, milo, as an alternate crop to soybeans. Go outside after dark or during the day but in the shade between May and late August and you will inhale mosquitos. You know Arkansas: after 1980, once livable areas became like the Stuttgart area always was. Now, of course, after 80 years of intense rice production, Stuttgart is running out of water, and the post-1980 rice colonies will follow suit. Rice is mostly to blame for this on its own, but so too is the repeal of the layout-ground subsidy. The swampy parts of fields were turned to production (wetlands conservation has done exactly squat in preventing this), and fencerows are a thing of the past. County roads that were shady lanes have been widened for new combines and wide-assed 12-row implements; people farm to the road's edge now. It's so much more dusty and hazy in the summers than it was, and this has happened in the last 15 years. There are farmers whose fields lay sometimes 100 miles, very commonly 30 miles, from each other.

It's a mess, but I think it can be fixed, though I doubt it will be. Some of the co-ops, like the one I belong to (I wonder if Land O'Lakes still is one?), do things pretty well by the farmer, but by and large the grain companies are concentrated evil and should be put out of business. For a future of small farms there will have to be an infrastructure in place that is not based on the Wal-Mart retail model with regard to produce. And for grain farms, and more on the production side of the equasion, something like how Canada's Grain Board used to be needs to be put in.

I wish we were fiesty and quasi-unionised like a lot of the EU farmers are. They dont get help, they raise hell and threaten to drive their tractors to town. My friends at home nearly salivate thinking about pulling a French union-type shut-down of infrastructure until demands are met. I don't blame them. I do too.

If production remains constant, I hope bio-diesel can make more demand on soybeans, and ethanol can make more demand on corn. Not only for the sake of energy concerns and farm revenue reasons, but for reasons of food quality and diet. I've never, nor has my family, raised corn except for sweetcorn in a garden. Still, the production of it is growing in the area, not that it brings much, but because of so many years of rice-soybean rotation and the effect on weed control and soil quality that has. Plus, you have to fertilise the living shit out of fieldcorn, which of course contributes to its minimal profitability, but has, with corn's early harvest property, the good effect of making for a nice double-crop of winter wheat behind it. But corn sucks as a mass-produced commodity for consumers. I can remember how sodas used to taste when they were made with cane sugar; I could see how real chocolate tastes when I got it from Poland or Australia. HFCS sucks. Mass production of soybeans has its drawbacks, too.

Hemp ought to be cultivated more and should be used to replace cotton and those fucking ugly-looking pine stands that are used for cloth and paper, respectively.

General Glut offered a temporary outside-the-box remedy to some of the subsidy situation by (my interpretation) asking that, instead of subsidies to all farmers being cut, why not cut the research programmes? If most of the problem is overproduction (even if we went protectionist to the nth power, which we should since that fucking Bush helped to ensure that China will buy all its future soybeans not from US, but from Brazil), and I think it is, then why not cut all the govt-subsidised R & D that makes for all this overproduction? The idea is appealing to me for another reason, too: most R & D is put into chemical and frankenfood research (and, eventually, use).

Anyway, I hope farmers by now know that Republicans aren't their friends.


As for blogs by folks who are, or at least know of and are sympathic to, our kind, the previously-mentioned General Glut is good. So is John Emerson (check these out). Norwegianity is good, grew up on an Iowa farm.

Steve Gilliard is also a left-populist, in my opinion often correct but also often so silly it defies description. No, our problems are not caused by the Old New Left and 1970s-era Ralph Nader, and his claim that the US Army was angelic in Vietnam compared to the French is intentionally misleading, something that Henry Kissinger would say. Some of his complaints aren't class-based but, rather, are explicitly anti-intellectual; and I dont see how he can say "blogging is action" but imply that 1960s pamphleteering was not, that it was masturbatory and divisive instead. Of course he's right that the Old Left was based in the working class, and we need to get back to that -- and that belief means a lot, and makes up for a lot of other bullshit.